ORANGE City Council is considering radical steps to outlaw lightweight, single-use plastic bags in the city.
Councillors Neil Jones and Reg Kidd are leading the push and believe a move towards reusable bags would greatly benefit the environment.
Cr Jones said council faced one major problem in their bag-free bid - even with the help of local government, they’re unable to enforce any bag-banning legislation.
“I think it’s time that we [Orange] take charge in this area and make some big changes for the environment,” he said.
“But in order for that to happen we’d need the support from all businesses in Orange to take the lead - like Aldi and Bunnings have with their no bag policy.”
So while council undertakes several planning strategies, Cr Jones urged businesses to consider volunteering a ban on plastic bags.
“If we can get a voluntary ban before any type of legislative ban then that will always have much better results,” he said.
“We’re hoping that retailers can see some positive benefits from moving to re-usable bags and sacrifice a little bit.”
Cr Jones, however, admitted some of Orange’s bigger retailers would be unwilling to enforce a plastic bag ban.
“Sometimes businesses are unwilling to sacrifice anything to do with their business strategies,” he said.
“In order for something like this to be a success, we’d need everyone heading in the same direction.”
Orange City Council and Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) would continue to work towards strategies to replace the bags, Mr Jones said.
Cr Kidd said now was the perfect time for council to explore more options in regards to the bag ban.
“This was brought up a couple of years ago and we also talked about it the other day,” he said. “I think now’s the time everyone really considers using those compostable bags because the plastic bags are a real nightmare for the environment.”
Cr Jones said plastic bag bans were well received in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
He expected statewide bans to follow, but in the meantime was hoping for a good response to voluntary bans.
“The reality is we need a national response to this issue but for the time being we’d like to carefully assess some better alternatives,” he said.